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At least 180 people trapped in a hotel in Mozambique by a jihadist attack


Maputo, capital of Mozambique.LUISA NHANTUMBOEFE
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At least 180 people, including expatriate workers, They have been trapped since Wednesday in a hotel in the city of Palma, northern Mozambique, besieged by jihadist insurgents, workers and security sources reported Friday. The army tried to evacuate the workers by air to a safe place from this area that houses a gigantic liquefied natural gas project, according to trapped workers. Insurgents began attacking the coastal city on Wednesday afternoon, prompting terrified residents to flee to neighboring forests and workers to take refuge in the forest. Hotel Amarula.

The Government has confirmed the attack and assured that security forces launched an offensive to expel the extremists from the city. The attack occurred on the day of the announcement by the French giant Total resumption of work construction site in the gas field that should be operational by 2024.

Total is the main investor in the project, with a stake of 26.5%. Six other international groups are involved, including the Italian Eni and the american ExxonMobil. “Almost the The entire city has been destroyed. Many people have died, “said a worker evacuated from the LNG plant by phone. He did not give details of the victims or their nationalities.

Another person who works for a company associated with Total said helicopters flew over the hotel on Friday trying to find a “corridor to evacuate the roughly 180 people trapped” in it. “But until late at night many people remained in the place while the insurgents tried to advance towards the hotel,” he said.

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In a short video that circulated on social networks, which could not be verified, recorded in the hotel lobby, it showed several people milling around on the terrace. In it, the sound of a helicopter is heard while describing Palma’s situation as “Criticism”. “We don’t know if they will rescue us,” he said, before adding that the hotel had run out of food even though there was still water.

Palma is located a ms from 1,800 km northwest of Maputo, in the province of Cabo Delgado, rich in gas, where the authorities have faced a violent insurrection since 2017. Armed jihadists, known by the name of Al Shabab (“The young men”, in Arabic) who swore allegiance to the group Islamic State In 2019, they have looted towns and cities in the province, causing the exodus of nearly 700,000 people, according to the HIM-HER-IT. In recent months, the attacks had lost intensity due, according to some sources, to the military response. The violence has claimed the lives of at least 2,600 people, half civilians, according to the US NGO ACLED.

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